Skip to main content

Large Hadron Collider's operator will end cooperation with Russia in 2024

The eight toroid magnets of the ATLAS detector at CERN.
The eight toroid magnets of the ATLAS detector at CERN. (Image credit: Maximilien Brice - http://cds.cern.ch/record/910381, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47143612)

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which operates the Large Hadron Collider, will cease all cooperation with Russia and Belarus in 2024 in response to Russia's ongoing aggression against Ukraine. 

The decision was made at the 208th meeting of the CERN council, held on Thursday (June 16), and follows an earlier suspension of all new cooperation with Russia, which CERN announced in March at the urging of Ukrainian physicists. 

CERN, which famously discovered the Higgs boson particle in 2012 using the Large Hadron Collider, has a system of International Cooperation Agreements in place with countries that are not members of the organization. These agreements cover five-year periods and are usually "tacitly" renewed before they expire. CERN or the cooperating states can end the arrangement with a written termination notice served at least six months prior to the renewal date, CERN said in a statement (opens in new tab).

Related: 10 cosmic mysteries the Large Hadron Collider could unravel

"CERN was established in the aftermath of World War II to bring nations and people together for the peaceful pursuit of science," CERN representatives wrote in the statement. "Member States recalled that the core values of the Organization have always been based upon scientific collaboration across borders as a driver for peace, and stressed that the aggression of one country against another runs counter to these values."

CERN's agreement with the Russian Federation runs out in December 2024, and the cooperation with the Republic of Belarus expires in June of the same year. 

While the Belarusian army is not formally participating in Russia's actions in Ukraine, the country's dictator, Alexander Lukashenko, is a vocal supporter of Russia's President Vladimir Putin, the mastermind behind the war. Russian forces were stationed in Belarus prior to the invasion on Feb. 24 and conducted some of their attacks from bases in the country, which neighbors Ukraine in the north.

Both nations' agreements with CERN will run out in the middle of the Large Hadron Collider's third science run, which is scheduled to begin in July and last about four years.

CERN said it will continue to monitor the situation and is ready to "take any further decision in the light of the developments in Ukraine."

The organization will also review its cooperation with the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR), a Moscow-based international research alliance, which was founded as a Soviet response to CERN in the 1950s. Mostly, JINR consists of countries of the former Eastern Bloc and those that were part of the Soviet Union prior to its disintegration in 1991. The organization focuses on particle and nuclear physics research including research of neutrinos and superheavy elements.

CERN's current cooperation agreement with JINR runs out in 2025, CERN said in the statement. 

Follow Tereza Pultarova on Twitter @TerezaPultarova. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

Tereza Pultarova
Senior Writer

Tereza is a London-based science and technology journalist, aspiring fiction writer and amateur gymnast. Originally from Prague, the Czech Republic, she spent the first seven years of her career working as a reporter, script-writer and presenter for various TV programmes of the Czech Public Service Television. She later took a career break to pursue further education and added a Master's in Science from the International Space University, France, to her Bachelor's in Journalism and Master's in Cultural Anthropology from Prague's Charles University. She worked as a reporter at the Engineering and Technology magazine, freelanced for a range of publications including Live Science, Space.com, Professional Engineering, Via Satellite and Space News and served as a maternity cover science editor at the European Space Agency.